When it comes to playing (and directing) handbells, there's a lot to learn.
For instance, those who are brand new to handbells may not initially realize that the music is written one octave lower than the actual sound the bells make (C5 = Middle C). (source) In addition, there's the basic ringing and damping technique, figuring out how to make bell assignments, and enough special techniques to keep you busy for a while.
Where do you go to learn about getting started, choosing repertoire, teaching technique, and developing music-reading and rhythm skills?
I hope you find a few helpful resources right here on this blog! Here are some posts you might find useful:
5 Creative Ways to Use Handbells in Worship
Adventures in Bell-Ringing: How to Start a Bell Choir
Adventures in Bell-Ringing: Improvisation Activities
Free Music for Handbell Choirs
How to Start a Children's Handbell Choir
50 Pieces for the Small Handbell Choir
Pinterest is also a good place to look.
As you probably know, Pinterest is an online catalog of and search engine for visual inspiration, creative ideas, tutorials, teaching resources, and much more. While some topics are more popular on Pinterest than others, lately I'm finding more and more pins and boards related to children's choirs, piano teaching, worship planning, and yes - even handbells.
Handbell boards include a variety of resources and handbell accessories ranging from product information to music collections, rhythm resources to YouTube performances. Some boards are geared toward children's handbell choirs; others are a little more general.
Here are a few of my favorites for handbell choirs (of all ages!):
1 | Here is a great collection of tone chime and handbell music (including a few free arrangements!). See it here.
2 | The foundation of handbell-playing is a solid understanding of rhythm. This board has tons of rhythm resources - games, sight-reading, written worksheets - for players of all ages and abilities. See it here.
3 | This board has lots of tone chime and handbell music specifically for children's bell choirs. Great for those of you who are just getting started or looking for a few new ideas! Take a look.
4 | Lots of note-reading resources and worksheets for children - perfect for elementary choirs with young readers! Use them as take-home projects, gathering activities, or quick breaks during rehearsal. See the board here.
5 | As a handbell director, you know you can never do too much rhythm practice. This board includes lots of helpful worksheets and teaching tips for reading and playing eighth and sixteenth notes and some great subdivision charts. Go take a look.
6 | If you use color-coded handbells with your choir, you'll find some really great resources on this board. Take a look.
7 | A go-to board for handbell-related products, music and collections, teaching aids, and more! See it here.
I recently started my own board to save my favorite handbell music and teaching resources (for all ages), and collect inspiration and creative ideas for using bells in worship. Follow along here.
Do you have a Pinterest board for handbells? If so, leave a link in the comments - I'd love to follow along!